Experimental study of informal rewards in peer production

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Experimental study of informal rewards in peer production
Authors: Michael Restivo, Arnout van de Rijt
Citation: PLoS ONE 7 (3): e34358. 2012
Database(s): Google Scholar cites PubMed (PMID/22479610)
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034358.
PMCID:3315525
Link(s): http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchObjectAttachment.action?uri=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0034358&representation=PDF
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Experimental study of informal rewards in peer production: An experiment where Wikipedia editors were given informal awards ("barnstars") to see how it affected their productivity.

Contents

[edit] Subjects

Subject group #1 (help)
Wikipedia writers
Subjects/♂/♀: 200 /  /
Age: (–)
Nationality: define nationality
Approval: Committees on Research Involving Human Subjects at the State University of New York at Stony Brook
Databases:

Group 1 of 200 wikipedia writers were included in the study.

The study on the human subjects was approved by the Committees on Research Involving Human Subjects at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

The subjects was chosen among the 1% most productive Wikipedia contributors, eliminating high-volume editors who "had previously received a barnstar or had elevated administrative privileges in the community".

The subjects did not get prior informed consent as it was judged that the study "presented only minimal risks to subjects"

[edit] Methods

Barnstars were awarded to half of the subjects and the subjects editing behavior were monitored for 90 days after the "treatment".

[edit] Results

  • Median productivity decreased for both groups, but more so for the group which was not awarded barnstars.
  • "Subjects in the experimental condition were significantly more likely to receive additional rewards from other contributors"

[edit] Related papers

  1. Awarding the self in Wikipedia: identity work and the disclosure of knowledge
  2. Stars need benefits: an experiment on network formation
  3. Value production in a collaborative environment
  4. Why do people write for Wikipedia? Incentives to contribute to open-content publishing
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